Below are diamonds on display in Hong Kong 2007, photographed in one of the finest
places in the world to shop for jewellery. It's also the perfect
place for buying many bespoke and custom made jewellery items.
In the field of accessories, jewellery is
the next big 'it' item.
Consumers want fresh gemstone designs and women frequently make the
jewellery purchase themselves, rather than waiting for items as
This has had a knock on effect in mass terms. Lots of
jewellery designs using precious metals and gemstones are now
easily available and bought cheaply by the masses. This may suit
some people. But for just as many people who are thrilled
by accessible, and affordable jewellery there are
consumers who are rejecting the cookie cutter looks of standard
jewellery marketed at the super rich has to offer more than something
available to the mass consumer market. Some jewellers
consider the phrase 'mass luxury
market', a much abused term and lacking meaning. Pieces
have to be unique and individual to please the discriminating.
'Want it' - so 'buy it'. 'Not sure' - so 'leave
'Luxury' has gone downmarket the same way as the
newer term 'must-have'. I've been observing the desires of
Miss Musthavethatnow for decades. In
Autumn Winter 2006/7, Saks was using the theme of WANT IT NOW and MUST HAVES in
their advertising campaign. Now even the Argos catalogue advertises
must-haves. With such slack use of terms, it follows that jewellery is not always considered the luxury it once was, even among the masses.
One person's must-have is another person's must-not-have.
Today really rich people often opt for a one-off,
one-of-a-kind, or a very
limited edition artist piece of jewellery. Such pieces are
meant to be viewed as works of art. The price is not
always as relevant, nor necessarily unaffordable, but what
matters is how exclusive and authentic a
bespoke piece is
distribution wise. It's that old chestnut, rarity increases the
desirability. You can read more about exclusive haute jewellery,
south sea pearls and gems on my other pages on
Van Cleef and Arpels and also
Jewels of Ocean.
Of course, mostly a higher price does
play a part, but there are lone jewellers who work in mid price
ranges simply because they enjoy producing one-off handmade
Creative satisfaction of owning one-of-a-kind handmade pieces can be
as important to the craftsman who makes them, as to the customer.
Right - Diamonds on display in Hong Kong in 2007. I
wonder how many requests there were for this red carpet,
showstopper, extravagant diamond necklace design?
British artist Marc Quinn used the strawberry as the unit of
a new frozen strawberry pendant design.
His strawberry jewel
piece was studded with 600 diamonds representing a textured
iced, diamond pip surface, and was worked in 18K white gold. The design
was made in a limited edition of 10 strawberries, each priced at
£24,000. This project was intended for a niche gallery
Galleries are the perfect place for an invited niche audience. The strawberry art, called 'Frozen Strawberry', is considered a work of art in its own right. When not being worn, the
strawberry piece is intended to be displayed in its own art object case.
This is gemart - gemstone art in the style of the original
one off Fabergé eggs
All natural forms provide
great sources of inspiration for jewellery makers.
Strawberry pendants are bound to be top of the list for bespoke
seekers in 2008, after Ken Haladjian of Exclusive Jewels won the
Grand prize for his gorgeous 3D gemstone strawberry at Gemvision
Corporation 2nd Matrix Design Contest.
Ken Haladjian of Exclusive Jewelry Designs, 706 South Hill
Street, # 940, Los Angeles, CA. 90014, Tel. (800)554-2221 sent
me these wonderful images of his 18K gold gemstone strawberry. The
strawberry gem can be used as a pendant, charm or objet d'art.
Click to see the strawberry images enlarged.
Here is another photograph of the Ken Haladjian gem set
strawberry, and showing proportion. What a wonderful picture of a fruit we all love.
The strawberry has a flat 18K gold back and the 3D front
features 162 diamond cut Rubies totalling 15.32 cts., 32 Diamond
cut Tsavorites (the finest green gemstones) total weight of 1.28
cts., and about 40 brilliant cut diamonds, 0.005 carat each. The
diamonds are set on the very prongs that are holding the Rubies
and they sparkle continuously from every angle!
These apple and serpent earrings right, are a great example
of gems used to create talking point wearable jewels. Heavenly
Treasures offers value for money goods and a huge variety of
In the late noughties you can expect to see a lot more fruits used as
inspiration in jewellery designs. Fruits are joining the
long list of nature inspired pieces on offer,
from insects and other bugs such as bees, dragonflies and
Luxury has been redefined. Those truly in the market
for luxurious goods seek couture jewellery pieces that
imply bespoke rarity and impeccable taste. In terms of
luxury, if a jewel item is on tap, in store, to the mass of people, then
the higher echelons of the most affluent of consumers don't
Van Cleef & Arpels have always addressed this elite market.
You can read more about their exclusive bespoke pieces and items
costing over £100,000 on the
Van Cleef & Arpels page.
Unless the jewellery is rarefied, unique and has distinctive
authenticity it will never satisfy the new breed of discerning
super client. Custom gemart is for those seeking a
special, rare and different piece. Currently this desire for one
off custom gemart is a driving force in high end sales.
To the left, gems on display in Hong Kong in 2007.
Beyond those who actively look for custom gemart, there is
also a trend for
ordinary people to buy into real gems and precious metals. Finer,
higher priced pieces with platinum, gold and diamonds are safe purchases
for long term use. Whether fashion costume
jewellery, or fine estate jewellery, quality always shines
through in the long term.
Jewellery is a broad spectrum, catering for many moods, occasions
and pockets. Countless looks sit side by side.
jewellery sways between, streamlined statement pieces and pumped
up vulgarity. Now there are sophisticated, contemporary jewellery styles
which are pared down; they are worked cleanly with the
rigour of sleek design simplicity at its best.
I especially like this simple plain gold Cleopatra style collar right.
With classic good looks, it would sit well with no end of outfits.
This stunning collar is
worked in just over 80gms of gold. Eight rows of woven links are approx
7/8 inch thick and because the collar necklace has an adjustable chain,
with a hook clasp
it can extend to fit 16 to 17 inch lengths. There is
a matching bracelet and the items are available in white gold too.
contrast to the gold Cleopatra collar, styles with boldly opulent, richly intricate, gemstone
confections offer a luxury wow factor. This intricate
left, was on display in Hong Kong in 2007.
contemporary designs present an earthy quality. Such
designs are less precious, more flexible, but still provide
interesting materials and textures to capture the purchase from
every kind of consumer.
There is plenty of good quality fashion jewellery and gemset
jewellery both on the high street and online. But sadly so much
of it is cookie cutter repetitive, and this is what many dislike.
Mechanically perfect goods, yet lacking expression. Indeed it was this mechanised approach to jewellery and other
crafted goods that sparked the objections of the
Aesthetics. Today if you like good style and are not
super rich, there are a couple of ways to achieve a fashionable
If you seek
something new and individual, but are not able to afford gemart
you need to search out small non chain jewellers.
Independent jewellers are invariably craftsman goldsmiths too,
who put quality first, whilst making and seeking unusual
different looking lines.
Alternatively, look for statement pieces as
you browse antique shop windows, or antique jewellery websites.
Second-hand jewellery is sometimes magnificent and unusual, as
well as mostly being excellent value - no VAT (value added tax)
Take your time to buy such a piece. Get used to looking
and browsing, then you will be primed to instantly recognise
and appreciate the value of the perfect item.
citrine necklace I wear, and shown right, is one I fancied in an antique shop for about 4
months. When my birthday came around I knew exactly what
was on my list and just prayed it would still be there, and my
husband would part with his cash.
Purchasing such an item from new, if you could get it, would
cost about 3 times the antique value. In this size of
stone, I think it's the
nearest I'll get to a necklace of yellow sapphires or diamonds!Citrine, smoky quartz
and yellow topaz are hot
sellers this year and you may like this necklace -
Citrine quartz looks
magnificent and fits in with all the golden tones around at present. The
gem stone is said to impart healing qualities.
Citrine and yellow Topaz are both
November. But my birthday is not in that month.
birthstone months stop you buying any gem you like, just because it's
not your birthstone.
Whether new, or antique fine jewellery, whatever your
benchmark price, consider buying one outstanding signature piece
of jewellery and build from there. Once you have some
basic pieces you love, my advice is try working through the
of birthstones, a lifetime should just about do it!
Take time to sometimes support independent jewellers, rather
than the same old high street names. Independent jewellers
often deal with young and established designer jewellers, with
fresh ideas and limited editions of handmade pieces.
Marcel Roelofs and Jorg Heinz products are quality,
handcrafted jewellery in 18ct carat gold and platinum.
Most importantly this is 'clever jewellery' that encourages you
to invest in building a collection of related, but interchangeable
pieces. This system allows you to mix convertible bayonet
end necklaces with diamond and precious stone bayonet recipient clasps.
second interchangeable clasp is the modern looking 18ct gold
heart shown far right. You can see the male/female bayonet
fitting here in the photograph left. It's a nifty bit
of patented engineering. Once in position, the
closure is incredibly neat and tailored in appearance.
an ugly lobster clasp in sight.
Puff effects within links and motifs are a hot trend to
watch. Notice how my heart has a puff effect. In some cases, new techniques use electroforming to pump
air volume into pieces. The technique has been especially
successful in creating 'gold pearls' which look weighty, but are
not. The puffed pearls can then be mixed with heavy real
pearls and appear to be as equally dense.
I have another black onyx bead
convertible necklace using the
same interchangeable fitting and shown left. The onyx necklace can easily
be converted to a totally different look, using the rutilated
quartz and diamond clasp shown right.
Technically it's the purchase of
2 necklaces, but the interchangeable clasps and necklaces mean I
can create 4 quite different, contemporary looks. In eco
terms this is sound too. Ask yourself why you need loads
of separate chains for all those pendants, if you buy into an
investment system like this one.
A few alternative clasp styles can be seen at the
Jorg Heinz site.
If you wish you can also just watch the moving images on the
Marcel Roelofs home
page which features similar clasps to my rutilated quartz
right. Remember many of these stones are one of a
I see such necklace
combinations as investment pieces. With the purchase of
several more perhaps coloured stone clasps, a wider range of
looks can be achieved. If you are interested in
this line of European jewellery, I made my purchase at Mark Linley's
Jewellery Gallery in Worcester.
Saretta’s UK founder and creative director, Sarah Bond says
'Saretta jewellery is statement jewellery, with unique and
unashamedly bold designs that are made to be noticed. Sarah
aims to create jewellery that make heads turns and upstages
others with their originality and flare.'
Saretta specializes in affordable, but limited pieces. Many
of the handmade pieces are unique one-offs. Saretta offers a
bespoke jewellery service as well as making limited edition
designs using precious gems, silver and gold metals. Your ideas
can be discussed and a design solution reached.
This beautiful amethyst ring right is a
The interesting, individual looking gold and silver cuff, is
from her Meteorite collection. You can see another of Sarah's
cuffs on the Cuff
Jewellery Trends 2007 page.
Where will it all end? Sometimes I feel dizzy from all the
wonderful goodies now on offer. If you are as fascinated
as I am by bespoke jewellery then you can read more about the
exclusive bespoke pieces that cost over £100,000 on the
Van Cleef & Arpels page.
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